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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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298                             UFE OF
and lie suffered from an eye disease, which sometimes
even made reading a difficulty. He rarely received
•visits., and sometimes did not go to Berlin for six.
weekk Many obstacles prevented Ms producing any-
tMng for publication at this period, and principally
his ceaseless study. But the most important part of
his correspondence with Schiller, took place at this
time, and, as it has been published, the world has
been a great gainer by the temporary separation of
the two eminent friends. In their correspondence,
we see the greatest works of Schiller planned, dis-
cussed, corrected, and gradually brought to comple-
tion, the ideas and sentiments contained in them are
debated and suggested, and., now and then/ Goethe
also sends manuscripts and plans of works to Hum-
boldt, that he may peruse and correct them. This
correspondence enables the reader better to compre-
hend all the works of the German poet, as their
.beauties and defects are discussed and pointed out with
penetrating criticism., in the unguaxdecl outpourings
of an affectionate correspondence.
For himself, Humboldt made more plans and pro-
jects at this period than he realized ; he seemed to
live only for Schiller, as the adviser and corrector of
his genius. But even his plans are interesting, and
we will therefore briefly sketch them. He purposed
to make Toss's "Louisa" the subject of a critical
essay? and intended to confine himself strictly to the
Idyllic portion of the work, to glance at the^Myllic
poets of other nations, and take the opportunity of
elucidating Ms favourite theory of the similarity of
the Greeks and Germans. Another project was the
criticism of Goethe's " Reinecke, the Fox/" of which
only some very original ideas on the Fox have reached
us in letters to Schiller. Schiller requested him to
write an explanation of his " Reich der Schatten/*
but although Humboldt would have liked the task,
lie thought it unsuitable in "Hrm to constitute himself
a commentator on SeMEer.
The plans  and  works relating to antiquity were